Who Plans The Education Transition?
Previous Topic: What Should Each Transition Plan Cover?
The student’s team, composed of the student, his or her main advocate (a family member or other determined advocate) and all professionals necessary to provide educational and other services.
Include the Student
Federal law requires a public agency (such as a school) that is planning for a student with a disability to invite him or her to the IEP meeting if transition will be discussed.
If the student does not attend the meeting, the public agency must take other steps to ensure that the student’s preferences and interests are considered.
Include the Family
Federal laws, especially IDEA and its later amendments, state clearly the importance of parental involvement in planning for children with disabilities.
For several reasons, parental participation and leadership can make a big difference.
First, the parent is almost always the best-informed and most-focused specialist when it comes to the needs, desires and strengths of the student. Teachers and other professionals, since their focus is broader, may overlook unique characteristics. A parent, other family member or advocate will have a better chance of ensuring that all the right options are included. A parent should insist on including everyone who might be important.
Parents should ask questions, read all documents slowly and carefully, and schedule as many meetings as necessary until they are satisfied that their son or daughter will have the best available preparation for adult life. As the student matures and becomes more involved in the planning, he or she may assume the leadership role.
Parents may need to enlist other professionals who know what services different agencies can or must provide under the disability laws.
If no one on the team is taking the leader’s role energetically, one or both parents can learn to champion the rights and needs of their soon-to-be adult son or daughter. In fact, any young person will benefit enormously if at least one parent or other family member takes that role, even if the professionals on the team are also doing so.